4 Metrics for Analyzing SEO Traffic (and one to ignore)
Ian Lurie Sep 22 2008
I have a defense mechanism: When something makes me want to puke, I look at statistics, and I feel better. Last week’s economic shenanigans were more than enough to make me ill, so I figured I’d have a glance at my blog’s organic search engine traffic.
Here’s my analysis, with a little teaching blended in. You can do the same thing on your own site:
First thing I noticed: My keyword diversity is way, way up over last year. I now receive traffic from 5,247 different key phrases, versus 2,100 or so this time last year.
Keyword diversity is critical to any internet marketing strategy, for three reasons:
- More keywords means your less vulnerable to a drop in ranking with one of those words.
- Higher diversity means you’re getting traffic from more specific, ‘long tail’ phrases. In my experience, that traffic is higher quality, has better conversion rates, and generates far better return rates.
- You get to find really funny keyword combinations like ‘snidely whiplash’ and ‘buy a wife’. Those really did show up in my keyword list, by the way.
So, higher keyword diversity is good.
Visits from Search
There’s a lot of ‘em: 8,200 in the last 30 days. More than last year by a factor of 3 or so.
I keep much closer track of visits from SEO than I do rankings. That’s because rankings don’t matter if they don’t bring you traffic.
Finally, I want to see the quality of traffic from organic search results. In this case, I’m doing OK. Visitors from search engines are spending 1% less time on the site than others. That’s not worth worrying about.
Yes, I check them, but not often and not as part of my traffic analysis. Rankings for ‘money’ phrases takes a long time to change, so tracking them is like tracking the stock market: Depressing.
Yah, whatever. Pagerank doesn’t matter.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More